The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK ISPs, court rules

The Pirate Bay screenshot The Pirate Bay is hosted in Sweden, where it has an active supporter base

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File-sharing site The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK internet service providers, the High Court has ruled.

The Swedish website hosts links to download mostly pirated free music and video.

Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must all prevent their users from accessing the site.

"Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

A sixth ISP, BT, requested "a few more weeks" to consider their position on blocking the site.

BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale.

"Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.

"This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."

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As media firms step up their battle against piracy and popular newspapers demand action from politicians on web filtering, the internet culture wars are going to get more heated”

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'Compelling alternatives'

In November 2011, the BPI asked the group of ISPs to voluntarily block access to the site.

The request followed a court order to block Newzbin 2, a site also offering links to download pirated material.

The ISPs said they would not block the site unless a court order was made, as is now the case.

Virgin Media told the BBC it will now comply with the request, but warned such measures are, in the long term, only part of the solution.

"As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price."

The Pirate Bay was launched in 2003 by a group of friends from Sweden and rapidly became one of the most famous file-sharing sites on the web.

It allows users to search for and access copyrighted content including movies, games and TV shows.

No 'extra pennies'

In April 2009, the Swedish courts found the four founders of the site guilty of helping people circumvent copyright controls.

The ruling was upheld after an appeal in 2010, but the site continues to function.

The Pirate Party UK, a spin-off from the political movement started in Sweden that backs copyright reform, said this latest move will "not put any extra pennies into the pockets of artists".

"Unfortunately, the move to order blocking on The Pirate Bay comes as no surprise," party leader Loz Kaye told the BBC.

Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay reacts to the 2009 conviction - Contains strong language

"The truth is that we are on a slippery slope towards internet censorship here in the United Kingdom."

'Pointless and dangerous'

Critics of site-blocking argue that such measures are ineffective as they can be circumvented using proxy servers and other techniques.

However, one analyst told the BBC that it was still worthwhile to take court action as it underlines the illegal nature of sites such as The Pirate Bay.

"I know it's fashionable to say 'oh, it just won't work', but we should keep trying," said Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum.

"We should keep blocking them - they are stealing music illegally.

"The biggest culprits of this, really, are the younger demographic who just haven't been convinced that doing this is somehow morally uncomfortable.

"The principle that downloading music illegally is a bad thing to do has not been reinforced by schools or parents."

But Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, called the move "pointless and dangerous".

"It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism," he said.

"Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    There are many files on p2p that are not illegal, i.e. out of copyrights, free music etc. There are also many files of programs, films, recordings etc., that have never been released on cd or dvd and are never likely to be due to broadcasters erasure or studios not releasing such material because it isn't economically viable for them to do so....can that be right also?

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.


    Not all pop stars mind, even Jessie J sang 'it wasn't about the money!'



  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    Is it juat me or did anyone else read the British Phonographic Industry as British "Pornographic" Industry? lol

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Typical NANNY STATE in action!
    Go on block it, we will find a way around any thing the ISP's can do, FACT.
    The internet is a bastion of FREEDOM and No person, No Government, No Company, No money grubbing petty film industry Company and NO Court can or should be allowed to make anything 'restricted'!
    Try it, each of the ISP's will burn as you loose customers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    I torrent things that can't be seen over here: certain US TV shows that are just impossible to get hold of. If the entertainment industry were willing to move into the 21st century, then this wouldn't be a problem. As it is, they've shot themselves in the foot.

    And The Pirate Bay is just one of MANY.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    I take it that this will be simple DNS blocking?

    Easy to get around, not sure why they bother.

    The internet isn't the music industries playground. The internet is bigger than the music industry and will always be something that they will never understand.

    There's way too much corporate money in politics these days, and this latest ruling just goes to prove how corrupt and blind the system is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Good luck!

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    Implying we can't just use proxys..

    English Legal System: 0
    PC pirates: 1

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    I am happy to pay a reasonable price for downloads via recognised websites (e.g. but don't understand why it is more expensive to download an mp3 album than to buy the same physical CD which has to be manufactured, distributed, onward packaged and sent to customers?!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    This is crazy-Piratebay is but 1 of many Torrent sites and they can't block them all!
    The answer is simple, e.g. movies should be in the cinema for 4 weeks max, then released to rental stores such as Blockbuster, Lovefilm & Netflix for 12-16 wks b4 going on general sale, that will entice people to not bother downloading poor quality movies but just rent them as they don't have to wait months!

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    This won't stop people downloading; PB isn't the only source of downloads on the internet, after all. All it means is that not-so-techy downloaders will resort to Googling and using riskier sites. In short, the only difference this would have at all is an increase in Average Joes finding their computers compromised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    All Pirate Bay does is host the links to content, but google host the link to Pirate Bay (among countless others) how can the current law not also see Google as a facilitator of online piracy?...The same Google who run and own youtube..the very youtube swarming with material breaking copy right law, from music, to tv shows..the same material that makes google a very tidy profit indeed

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    A 6-year old child can get around an ISP block.

    Do the people that make these decisions even know what the internet is?

    Thank God for the hysterics over the Pirate Bay. Means most of my favourite torrent sites are left alone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    if theyve never heard of proxy servers ...... these people know nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Netflix's unlimited movies for £6 / month sounds, in theory, like the sort of thing that would reduce piracy. Its very low cost and less hassle. However, I don't know how "old" the films are. If its anything like other on-demand services, then the film was probably out 2 years earlier on the Pirate Bay!

    On the positive side, lots of people will advance & learn how to use proxies!

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    It has been shown that most people that download music illegally actually do so looking to buy. And those that download illegally tend to spend more on music than those who don't. Sites like this allow them to make informed choices with their music so they can choose where to spend their money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Never used it and hate the idea of censurship

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Will their 'block' stop me from accessing Pirate Bay? No.

    Is the BPI completely out of touch with modern technology? Yes.

    Are huge greedy corporations ruining the world for everyone? Absolutely.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    The entertainment industry are making a nuisance of themselves and no one wants to know. The govt do the odd gesture to placate the media fat cats who can make or break them and the ISPs try to frustrate everyone through the courts. Sadly all the while, the entertainment industry could have improved their lot if they produced stuff genuinely worth seeing and listening to in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Blocking sites like The Pirate Bay is foolish and short-sighted. For every site you block, three more will take it's place overnight.
    People are perfectly happy to buy things if they like them; most people I know, including myself, often watch a movie, series or listen to an album via these sort of sites, then buy the DVD or CD if we like them.
    "Try before you buy" - not exactly a new concept...


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